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The five worst episodes of Trek, TOS!!!

  • Avatar of lobomensch

    lobomensch

    [21]Sep 14, 2006
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    I always felt "The Empath" was a great character piece that suffered from slow pacing as mentioned, not that it was a terrible episode. We saw enough faster-paced ones that had nothing better in the way of characterization this one does.
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  • Avatar of Mac-Ale

    Mac-Ale

    [22]Sep 15, 2006
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    My biggest problem was the ending, I like a good bridge wrap up with a fun comparison, bur Scotty's telling of the Gospel parable "a pearl of great price" didn't really fit the story at all.

    "D'ya not know know the story of the merchant?"
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    alanr4447

    [23]Sep 16, 2006
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    Naturally she is a "pearl of great price" -- she is called "Gem", after all!

    I'm beginning to realize that I probably oughtta view the "Empath" episode itself again before attempting to discuss it in detail -- been some time since I watched it, as it is not one I generally fell inclined to sit and view. They should be getting to it on TV Land in January.

    But rather than wait, I will take a stab at it... I'll use the James Blish adaptation of the story as a guide. It appeared in the 10th volume of adaptaions, by which time Blish was sticking quite 'religiously' (as he did all things) to the scripted episodes...

    It struck me that the story gives us a rather "cardboard" display of valor: with Kirk unconscious, Spock decides that he himself will be sacrificed...then McCoy drugs him, so that McCoy can offer HIMself. I suppose it could be argued that that is what the Vians were going for: valor laid bare.

    And I guess I've felt that Kirk's final argument, that the Vians have themselves lost the capacity to feel the compassion they are trying to instill in Gem, was rather flimsy -- makes a convenient solution to the storyline. The Vians, are, after all, doing all this in order to save an entire world -- a pretty compassionate act, if you ask me. At best, I'd say they were having a momentary lapse. If they had determined that their "testing" would require an actual sacrifice on someone's part, they COULD'VE been right!

    Then there's the whole issue of the entire "premise" of their tests -- a star is going to go nova, and, to quote the Blish text (chapter and verse), the Vians say: "Of all the planets of Minara, we are empowered to transport to safety only the inhabitants of one... If Gem's planet is the sole one to be saved, we must make certain beyond all doubt that its people are worthy of survival." So the Vians devoted all this time and energy into concocting their tests...

    Which touches on a problem that was rife in the third season, in this episode, as well as "Wink of an Eye", "Plato's Stepchildren", "The Mark of Gideon", et al. The Enterprise visits a planet, where the inhabitants suffer from some need, and they try to force what they need from the Enterprise, rather than seeking their willful aid, backed by the resources of the entire Federation. Back in the previous year's "By Any Other Name", Kirk ended up saying, "We can take your problem to the Federation...", which would have been an easy solution to many of the third-season situations. If, when the Vians learned of the star going nova, they had simply taken their case to the Federation at the outset, it should have been possible to save ALL the "planets of Minara" -- if not entire populations, then at least sizable communities from each. (I suppose that had the petition been made at the time of "Next Generation", the Feds would've said, "Save them from extinction? Sorry, that would be INTERFERING with their natural growth!") Of course, by saving only portions of a population, you have to decide who among them to save...obviously, it should be only adherents of the True Faith...and only those who are white on the LEFT side...no ZEONS, certainly!.......

    Still, if the circumstances as stated in the episode are found wanting, it would've been possible to write different circumstances that would've been satisfactory, without undermining the truth of the story. Even a top episode like "The City on the Edge of Forever" has holes to mend (starting with its grammar, where the noun "Eternity" would've been preferable to the adverb "Forever", while referring to exactly the same thing). In "City", for instance, there's the problem of Spock's tricorder record. The Guardian plays Earth's past, and Spock starts to record, well into it. McCoy jumps in when it reaches 1930, and from that point, the record should reflect the history as altered by McCoy. Yet when the record is examined later, it contains both "proper" and "altered" histories, all from a single "time play".

    But it would be a simple matter to say that what ACTUALLY happened was, the Guardian played Earth's past, and Spock started recording...the history played out (to the 'present', presumably) without incident, recording "proper" Earth history. Then Spock, realizing he had missed a lot, had the Guardian play Earth's history a second time, with tricorder engaged. It was THIS time that McCoy jumped in and changed history, and Spock obtained the record of the changes. Back in 1930, Spock had only to assemble the proper collection of stone knives and bearskins in order to play back the recordings (although he had trouble controlling what portion would get played...apparently the Google search function was unavailable).

    There's also the question of why it is that the "whole galaxy" (and universe, presumably) was altered by the changes McCoy caused, so the Enterprise was no longer in orbit, and yet the landing party remained unchanged. I guess they were protected by their proximity to the Guardian, whose influence did not extand as far as orbital altitude.

    Anyway, changing the events of the Guardian's playback of history would be insignificant to the plot of the story. Likewise, one might say that some change could be made to the circumstances the Vians were operating under, so that their "testing" was their only option. One measure of an episode, though, is how much, and how intrinsic, such change is necessary. Also, if I just feel that it is a "typical" problem -- that the whole mess could've been avoided had they not used their probematic approach -- it just doesn't reflect well, to me.

    And of course, the cornball bit about how "Gem" was a "pearl"...
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  • Avatar of ladybritcomfan

    ladybritcomfan

    [24]Sep 18, 2006
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    ladybritcomfan wrote:
    TelFan7 wrote:
    #5 Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
    #4 For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
    #3 Charlie X
    #2 Miri, and
    #1 And the Children Shall Lead

    None from the second and best season!!


    Looks like I'm in total agreement with you on those episodes. Season 1 got off to a slow to steady start, Season 2 was way better and Season 3 kind of sucked. It's no wonder their 5 year mission was cut short by two years.

    I've changed my mind, slightly. I think Miri is the worst episode. They air Star Trek on a local station and I watched that episode last night. Those kids got on my nerves so bad I found myself screaming "Oh please, somebody get a wire hanger and beat the s**t out of those kids!"
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  • Avatar of Mac-Ale

    Mac-Ale

    [25]Sep 18, 2006
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    I think they are supposed to get on your nerves, the whole horror of a world run by kids "Lord of the Flies" kind of thing...
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  • Avatar of suekuku

    suekuku

    [26]Sep 18, 2006
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    Regarding Miri:

    Besides, you've got to love an episode where Kirk gets beaten up by kids and yells, "No more blah, blah, blah!"

    I didn't see Shat's roast but someone should have shown the clip of him yelling that for a fun comment on his acting.

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    ladybritcomfan

    [27]Sep 18, 2006
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    Mac-Ale wrote:
    I think they are supposed to get on your nerves, the whole horror of a world run by kids "Lord of the Flies" kind of thing...

    Well then they did a good job of that. Because they got on my nerves big time. Makes a woman want to stick her head in the oven rather than listen to "bonk, bonk" all the time. lol. :p
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    ladybritcomfan

    [28]Sep 18, 2006
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    suekuku wrote:
    Regarding Miri:

    Besides, you've got to love an episode where Kirk gets beaten up by kids and yells, "No more blah, blah, blah!"

    I didn't see Shat's roast but someone should have shown the clip of him yelling that for a fun comment on his acting.

    The roast was great! Yes, they should have shown that with all the other clips at Shat's roast.
    Edited on 09/20/2006 4:51pm
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  • Avatar of frickabee

    frickabee

    [29]Sep 21, 2006
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    Worst Episodes:
    1. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
    2. Spock's Brain
    3. The Way to Eden (What is up with that gay wet willy crap they used to incapacitate those crewmen?)
    4. The Trouble With Tribbles (Yes!  I'm sick of this one being called the best)
    5. The Conscience of the King

    Best Episodes
    1. Space Seed
    2. The Changeling
    3. The Immunity Syndrome
    4. Arena
    5. The Tholian Web

    Honorable Mention: And The Children Shall Lead (I mention this one because it is far from the worst episode.  Who would've thought that a lawyer would make such a decent villain?)

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  • Avatar of alyssa01

    alyssa01

    [30]Sep 15, 2007
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    I have found that many people don't like series Three an attribute it to the downfall of star Trek but it is my fav series and has most of my favorite episodes.

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  • Avatar of tomswift2002

    tomswift2002

    [31]Sep 15, 2007
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    I've always considered Dagger Of The Mind to have been a really bad episode. Followed by Friday's Child, The Omega Glory, This Side of Paradise and A Private Little War.

    '

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  • Avatar of trekgirldana

    trekgirldana

    [32]Sep 25, 2007
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    Well, TOS doesn't have that many stinkers, but I'll give this a try:

    The five worst episodes of Star Trek (TOS):
    5. Turnabout Intruder - It's a shame that this is TOS's final episode (not exactly going out with a bang). Interesting concept, but ultimately the episode is disappointing for me. If it weren't for Lester's one idiotic line to Kirk, "Your world of starship captains doesn't admit women," then maybe some fans could finally give up this garbage notion that women were not allowed to be Starfleet captains during the TOS era. However, it is amusing to watch Shatner walk around with a "swish" in his step as he portrays Lester!

    4. The Omega Glory - I like large parts of this episode, but the whole idea of a Cold War parallel with Yangs vs. Kohms is just plain silly. Also, Kirk's sermonizingat the end of the episodeabout the Pledge of Allegiance is nothing short of painful. On the plus side, the fight between Kirk and Tracey is very intense.

    3. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield - Here we get to see The Riddler with face paint. Okay, I get the point of the episode-racism is wrong. I prefer my messages to be a bit more subtle. This episode is about as subtle as a punch to the face.

    2. The Alternative Factor - I have seen this episode three times, and it still doesn't make any sense to me. It's hard to keep up with which Lazarus is which, and the struggle between the two Lazaruses in the "void" between the two universes is long and tedious.

    1. And the Children Shall Lead - Worst...episode...ever! Melvin Belli is absolutely awful as Gorgon. The kids are annoying. The story really isn't all that interesting. Every other TOS episode has certain redeeming qualities (IMO), except for this one!

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  • Avatar of rhea77

    rhea77

    [33]Apr 12, 2008
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    Reading all the discussion I believe it is, as always a matter of preference and taste. Some like the tacky, some the sophisticated, some think styrofoam rocks are art, others despise them as too unrealistic. Whatever rocks anyone's boat. I personally like a smart, not too tacky (unless deliberately so) storyline, and dialogue that does sound as if the writer actually knew about the characters. A little erotic adventure here and there and lots and lots of Spock also make up for plot holes etc.

    Worst episodes:

    5. The Omega Glory: now nothing against patriotism, but can we please be serious here? Now the star sprangled banner does not only save Earth but other planets, too? Was there a war in the making they wanted to recruit soldiers for when they shot that episode? I hate it because it goes against the otherwise IDIC spirit the show is supposed to convey. On the one hand, they have Checkov, on the other hand they are still holding on to the reality of the Cold War? I wish they had made up their minds about the subject before they made an otherwise perfectly good episode into a National Guard ad!

    4. Turnabout Intruder: stupid story, scholarly slightly interesting for the gender studies people; slightly macho, sometimes badly performed, so so dialogue, and otherwise annoyingly insignificant

    3. And the Children Shall Lead: Maybe it's because I don't like kids. Or is it that I don't like kids because of it?

    2. Plato's Stepchildren: painful to watch. Most episodes in which we encounter people who have some connection to Earth history, are embarrassing. This is by far the worst. I wonder who lost a bet and had to air this episode?

    1. Spock's Brain: embarrassing, stupid, macho, boring, stupid, embarrassing, and did I mention stupid? What a stupid idea? And then let Spock help with the operation in the end? OMG, it almost ruined Star Trek for me.

    Edited on 04/12/2008 12:48pm
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    crazyladyanjas

    [34]Apr 14, 2008
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    I agree with you totaly. I also dislike Squire Of Gothos.
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  • Avatar of my1sunshine

    my1sunshine

    [35]May 14, 2008
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    I cannot fathom why ANYBODY calling themselves a Star Trek fan would have "This Side of Paradise" or "Metamorphisis" on a "worst list", but (shakes head)..whatever. Mine are the following...

    1. SPOCK'S BRAIN.. "Brain and brain! What is brain?" ....Indeed.

    2. THE ALTERNATIVE FACTOR... However, if i ever need a refresher course in falling off a mountain while screaming..this one might be a help.

    3. THE CLOUD MINDERS... why in the world would Spock tell a strange woman about his Pon Farr?

    4. THE WAY TO EDEN... Space Hippies?! Hey, man...Puff Puff, Pass!

    5. LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD.... (AKA: The Black and White Cookie Episode) Obvious. It's just a shame that this is the only episode with that cool self destruct sequence.

    and I have to slip in...

    6. AND THE CHILDREN SHALL LEAD....kill all the lawyers...especially this one...please?

    Edited on 05/14/2008 10:14am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of millerem99

    millerem99

    [36]Jun 3, 2008
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    Well, I feel somehow disloyal even suggesting that there are a whole five "worst episodes" of Star Trek, but for me, the worst are simply the ones that bore me enough I wouldn't go out of my way to watch them. They would be:

    The Empath

    The Alternative Factor

    The Cloud Minders

    Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

    The Ultimate Computer

    For me factors such as believability, script, or even acting and special effects are less important if the episode is at least entertaining

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  • Avatar of Buffylover365

    Buffylover365

    [37]Jun 6, 2008
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    As a kid (7-9 years old), these were the episodes I didn't care for.

    Season 1
    Mudd's Women
    Dagger of the Mind
    The Corbomite Maneuver
    Balance of Terror
    The Galileo Seven
    Arena
    The Return of the Archons
    Space Seed
    A Taste of Armageddon
    The Devil in the Dark
    Errand of Mercy
    The Alternative Factor
    Operation -- Annihilate!

    Season 2
    Metamorphosis
    Friday's Child
    Obsession
    The Immunity Syndrome
    A Private Little War
    The Omega Glory

    Season 3
    Spock's Brain
    The Paradise Syndrome
    For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
    Plato's Stepchildren
    Wink of an Eye
    The Empath
    The Mark of Gideon
    That Which Survives
    The Lights of Zetar
    Requiem for Methuselah
    The Cloudminders
    The Savage Curtain
    All Our Yesterdays

    But I recently got the series, so I'll be eventually re-watching these again and give you guys an updated opinion.

    Edited on 06/09/2008 5:14pm
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  • Avatar of revbucky

    revbucky

    [38]Jul 17, 2008
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    There are no bad episodes!
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  • Avatar of millerem99

    millerem99

    [39]Aug 25, 2008
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    oh, yeah...and I can't take Trelane in "The Squire of Gothos" ... after all these years I just turn the channel if it's that one
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    ImpalaFan

    [40]Aug 29, 2008
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    Hmm...I've never thought much about the "worst" episodes because I love the series as a whole so very much. But, I'll give it a shot -

    5 worst episodes (in no particular order): The Omega Glory, Spock's Brain, The Empath, The Mark Of Gideon & The Return Of The Archons.

    I guess I'm in the minority after reading through everyone's lists as I've always thought And The Children Shall Lead, though not one of my favorites, is actually pretty good.

    10 favorite episodes (also in no particular order & sorry but I can't limit this to 5!): Mirror Mirror, Balance Of Terror, The Conscience Of The King, The City On The Edge Of Forever, The Enterprise Incident, Who Mourns For Adonais?, The Doomsday Machine, The Gamesters Of Triskelion, Space Seed & What Are Little Girls Made Of?

    Honorable mentions: Amok Time, This Side Of Paradise, Tomorriw Is Yesterday, Arena, The Tholian Web, Day Of The Dove and, of course, The Trouble With Tribbles.

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